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Biden’s World War Z

joe biden
The data points underneath the headline-grabbing poll numbers crystallize Biden’s challenge—primarily, his weakness with core Democratic voting groups that he needs to recapture the White House in November. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images
Peter Hamby
February 20, 2024

Maybe you’re following every bilious gurgle of the political news cycle. Maybe you’ve tuned it all out. Whatever the case, there’s still a good chance you could recite the conventional wisdom of the 2024 election if asked: Voters are apathetic and tired of politics. The two likely choices on the presidential ballot are less than ideal. Joe Biden is old, uninspiring, and historically unpopular. Donald Trump is venal, felonious, and may bring about the end of American democracy. The economy is either good or bad, depending on the last thing you read or purchased. As for Congress, well, they’re useless. 

Read any poll, listen to any focus group, talk to your pals at the office or in your group chats, and the verdict these days is generally the same: Politics sucks. But there’s a reason this miasma of bad vibes is currently tilted more against Biden than Trump. It’s not just the onslaught of polls showing Trump beating Biden nationally and in key battleground states. It’s the data points underneath those headline-grabbing poll numbers that crystallize Biden’s challenge—primarily, his weakness with core Democratic voting groups that he needs to recapture the White House in November.